RELIGION: Pope Benedict names Regina Pacis Church as a minor basilica

November 19, 2012 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Pope Benedict XVI has designated Regina Pacis Church, 1230 65th Street, Bensonhurst, as a minor basilica, the Bishop of Brooklyn’s Roman Catholics learned this morning.

The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn last year had submitted a petition to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Vatican, requesting the honor of minor basilica for Regina Pacis. The request also required approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“This Thanksgiving, the Diocese of Brooklyn, in the midst of recovering from a devastating hurricane, gives thanks to Almighty God that Regina Pacis is the third church to be named a basilica in our great Diocese here in Brooklyn and Queens, and one of only 74 in the United States,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “It is with great joy that we receive the news Regina Pacis is recognized with this honor.”

Bishop DiMarzio will preside at a Solemn Mass to mark the momentous occasion on Saturday, December 8th at 2:30pm. During the Eucharistic celebration, the proclamation of the Decree granting the title of “Minor Basilica” to Regina Pacis will be read and the blessing of the Tintinnabulum and Papal Ombrellino will take place.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

 “Minor Basilica” is a title of honor conferred by the Holy Father on a church of great architectural, historic and spiritual importance. It may be a cathedral, a parish church or a shrine. These exceptional churches serve as an important center for the entire community of faith in demonstrating and living out the rich values of the Gospel. This honor signifies Regina Pacis’ particular link with the Roman Church and the Supreme Pontiff and will be demonstrated by the celebration of specific feasts in a special way that are linked to the papal office, including the Feast of the Chair of Peter (February 22nd), the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29th) and the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Churches honored with the title basilica are of two ranks, major and minor. All four major basilicas are in Rome: The Lateran Basilica of Saint John (The Cathedral Church of Rome), the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter, the Liberian Basilica of Saint Mary Major and the Ostian Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls.

Regina Pacis Church was also the home of Regina Opera since the repertory company’s founding in 1970 in the parish’s auditorium, according to Regina Opera’s website. Regina Opera had to move from that site earlier this year. Performances are now held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (5th Avenue and 59th St. in Sunset Park) which was also named a minor basilica several years ago.


 Brooklyn Clergy join hundreds of faith leaders calling for ban on hydrofracking

 The campaign on the part of New Yorkers to ban hydrofracking of the water supply is longstanding.  Now, Brooklyn clergy and religious leaders are joining hundreds of their counterparts across New York State in the call to ban “fracking,” saying that it will destroy one of the nation’s safest water supplies. The religious leaders declare that they have Biblical precedent.

More than 280 faith leaders and institutions from several religious traditions, ranging Buddhists to Roman Catholic, have joined the growing coalition of business leaders, elected officials and health experts calling for a ban on fracking in New York. Last week, faith leaders held six “Spiritual Calls to Ban Fracking: Vigils to Protect Our Sacred Land & Water” across the state, praying for Governor Cuomo and other elected officials to ban fracking.  Similar vigils were already held in Buffalo and New York City. Another Spiritual Call to Ban Fracking is planned for Long Island in December.

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann of Brooklyn’s Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, said, “Third- century Jewish law teaches very specific ways to dig for water so as not to harm one’s neighbor’s well. Today, we must act on this ancient Jewish awareness by banning fracking in New York, because fracking threatens the drinking water of all of our neighbors, as well as their air and food.”

The Rev. Dr. Robert A. White, Interim Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches – which in September passed a resolution calling for a ban on fracking, stated,  “All of the Christian churches we represent regard the natural world as more than a repository for human consumption. We regard the natural world as a creation, a gift to us from God, and we believe our role as human beings is to be caretakers, stewards of Creation, rather than exploiters. In our judgement [sic], the procedure known as fracking is unproven scientifically to be safe. New York State is a gifted place with beautiful land, air, and water. We don’t believe that this invasive quest for dwindling fossil fuels can be justified when not proven safe.”

In addition to Rabbi Lippmann, the clergy participating in “New Yorkers Against Fracking Faith Leader List” which is 11 pages long, includes: Debbie Almontaser, board chairperson of the Muslim Consultative Network; Geoffrey Arnold of the Zen Center of New York City, Dennis Bohn of the Rock Blossom Sangha; Rachel Brook, student cantor at the Academy for Jewish Religion; Rev. Robert Emerick of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church; Rabbi Jeni S. Friedman; Rabbi David L. Kline of the Union for Reform Judaism; Marc Katz, Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim; Rabbi Valerie Lieber, Director of Education/Social Justice at the Kane Street Synagogue; the Rev. Mason-Browne, Interim Pastor of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Herbert Miller, pastor of the Park Slope United Methodist Church and his congregation’s Social Action Committee; Father Michael Perry, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church; Pastor David Rommereim of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Bay Ridge; Joyce Tate, Minister and Coordinator of Events of PRTC-People Recovering Through Christ; Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub; the; Rabbi David Siff of the Flatbush Jewish Center.

Several members of religious orders: Jesuits, Religious Sisters of Mercy and Franciscans signed the Call.

Over a thousand business leaders have already called for a ban on fracking.  In recent weeks, groups opposed to fracking have aired ads featuring Pennsylvania residents talking about the economic damages fracking has brought to Pennsylvania.  More than 75 wineries and breweries called on Governor Cuomo to ban fracking to protect their industries.


High volume hydraulic fracturing, combined with horizontal drilling, involves pumping millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand underground to extract natural gas from shale bedrock.  Multiple studies have shown that the process is dangerous for several reasons, including the possibility of leaking radon gas, and the earmarking of water resources that are needed elsewhere during periods of severe drought. Polls consistently show that many New Yorkers are wary of fracking.

Since fracking began in Pennsylvania and states outside of New York, there have been reports of water contamination and explosions.  New studies link hydrofracking-related activities to contaminated groundwater, air pollution, illness, death and reproductive problems in cows, horses and wildlife, and most recently human health problems. A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health found that those living within a half-mile of a natural gas drilling site faced greater health risks than those who live farther away.


 First Presbyterian Church welcomes new interim pastor

The Rev. Nadine Hundertmark has been appointed Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, according to an announcement in the church’s most recent e-newsletter.

Hundertmark is a minister in the New York City Presbytery. She recently completed four years of service as interim pastor of Riverdale Presbyterian Church, a congregation known for its rich multicultural tradition. Prior to serving there, she was pastor of the South Salem Presbyterian Church in Hudson River Presbytery for 14 years, where she emphasized innovative worship and led faith-formation programs open to both the church and the wider community.

Before being called to parish ministry, Ms. Hundertmark worked as a writer and artist with the National Council of Churches, the World YWCA, and World Council of Churches in Geneva. She is on the boards of the Presbyterian Camp at Holmes and Presbyterian Senior Services.

Nadine married to her husband, Rob Meadows-Rogers, in January 2012. They met during the 1970s as students at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan.


Heritage Ensemble marries Jewish melodies and jazz

A Judeo-Latin Jazz Holiday Adventure returns by popular demand to Congregation Mount Sinai, featuring Brooklyn’s own Eugene Marlow Ensemble.

The Heritage Ensemble’s passion and specialty is giving Hebrew melodies a new twist, bringing in jazz, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian styles. The band’s founder and composer/arranger Eugene Marlow, is a Renaissance man—a pianist, world-traveler, published author and professor. Perhaps it is by musical design that Marlow chose to live in Brooklyn, itself a bridge for many cultures.

Marlow is a prolific composer/arranger, performer, author, journalist and educator. His albums have included, most recently, A Fresh Take, Celebrations: Festive Melodies from the Hebraic Songbook (2010.) His piece, “Broken Heart,” appears (on Track 8) on drummer Bobby Sanabria’s recent album, Multiverse. A Grammy-nominee several times, Bobby Sanabria is a member of The Heritage Ensemble. So are Cristian Rivera, on congas, and Obanilu Allende, on bongó drums.

Singing at this concert with The Heritage Ensemble will be Congregation Mount Sinai’s Cantor Shira Lissek. Named Shira, the Hebrew word for song, Ms. Lissek has sung since age 4 At 16 she sang the national anthem at a St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball game; and by 18 she was leading Jewish High Holiday services for thousands. A graduate of Indiana University School of Music and Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Lissek went on to sing leading roles in regional opera companies. She sang opera premieres by Carlisle Floyd (The Center for Contemporary Opera), Peter Westergard (Center City Opera Theater), and Antonio Vivaldi (Teatro Instabile).

Their concert begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. Tickets are $20, and $8 students. To purchase tickets, call 718-875-9124 or e-mail: [email protected].  Congregation Mount Sinai is at 250 Cadman Plaza West (westernmost end of Tillary St.)

Lutheran School welcomes hurricane-displaced students

Upon learning  that numerous displaced residents of Breezy Point were staying with friends and relatives in Bay Ridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Lutheran Elementary School of Bay Ridge decided to open its doors and provide free classroom education to as many students it could accommodate. 

“When something like the devastation at Breezy Point happens, we all have the same reaction—what could I possibly do to help?” said Lorraine Tuccillo, Principal of LES and a part-time Breezy resident.  “For LES, that was an easy one to answer – try to restore stability, support and education to school-age children displaced by the storm.”

LES committed to provide classroom space at no charge to any child displaced by the storm who is staying temporarily in Bay Ridge. The school publicized word in the community and through local elected officials, and immediately began enrolling children.

“When Bethlehem founded LES in 1957, we hoped it would serve as the educational heart of the community.  This helps fulfill that dream,” said the Rev. Paul H. Knudsen, Pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by Sandy and hope this gesture of help was of comfort to those families.”


Revival aims to bring healing to Brooklyn in hurricane’s aftermath

The Brooklyn Christian Center (Clinton Hill/Bedford-Stuyvesant) hosts a six-day revival for the week following Thanksgiving.

A “Reaping The Harvest God Promised Breakthru Revival” runs from Tuesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 2.

The revival’s mission is to “Join the Move to Bring Hope and Healing! Come as we Pick up the Pieces after Hurricane Sandy!” Through worship, music, inspiration and teaching, Senior Pastor Dennis Dillon and his ministerial team aim to “Bring Hope to New York one Family at a Time!”  The revival includes a RadioThon, which will also be broadcast live on WMCA 570AM and 107.9FM. Readers may call 718-638-6397 for additional information. The Brooklyn Christian Center is at 1061 Atlantic Avenue (zip 11238).


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